Jeff Kolpack, Published May 14 2013
NDSU pitcher Kingsley has found his home on the mound
Probably more well-known at Fargo South High School for playing on back-to-back state championship football teams, he opted for his true love of baseball and walked on to NDSU. At 6-foot-3, he had the size.
But what has really surfaced with the Bison is his pinpoint accuracy, added strength and intelligence – both on and off the field. A chemistry major, he was named to the Summit League all-academic team as a Distinguished Scholar.
Now a senior relief pitcher, it’s getting to the point where sentiment is starting to set in.
On Monday night, he and a couple of roommates went to a Fargo South baseball game and Kingsley said he started thinking about the entire high school-to-college process.
“The journey to where I am now,” he said.
Where is he?
He made the NDSU starting rotation as a freshman in 2010. He made nine starts, but had a rather ordinary 4-6 record and a 6.53 ERA. His sophomore year began even more unordinary when he was 0-3 as a starter.
Then came the switch.
The Bison coaches moved him to a relief role, where he won four games and broke his own school record for fewest walks per nine innings.
“At first I was a little upset,” Kingsley said. “But I wasn’t pitching that well as a starter. I really didn’t think about being in the bullpen when I started here, but now that I’m there, I’m glad I did it. It was a good change for me.”
Others agreed. He was a second team all-Summit selection as the team’s closer last year. He had a streak of 17 innings without giving up an earned run.
Not bad for a walkon.
“Kyle Kingsley is exactly what we’re looking for,” Brown said. “His major and his off-the-field habits are all off the charts. He’s a big part of our program because of his family values and his work ethic.”
His fastball, which as a freshman was in the low 80 miles-per-hour range is now consistently 85 to 88. What makes him dangerous, however, is he throws all of his off-speed pitches for strikes.
It’s up in the air if he’ll get a professional opportunity. It’s possible he could be a late-round draft pick. Independent baseball could be on the radar, Brown said.
A 40-win team last year, NDSU hasn’t had that kind of success this season and is fighting for the final berth to get into the four-team Summit League tournament. Kingsley is 0-4, but has six saves and a 2.67 ERA.
“Each year is unique,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be the same as last year and it’s had its ups and downs, but it’s been a good year.”
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found